It is safe to say that our present day lives differ greatly from our ancestors. Think about the lifestyle differences between our elderly parents and our children. My grandfather was born in the late 1890’s. My children were born 100 years later. The technology differences are simply staggering to comprehend, and affect us all on a daily basis. But think also about longevity. Whereas I never knew two of my grandparents, my children have been fortunate enough to know both their maternal and paternal grandparents. Family dynamics, and family relationships have changed (some might say deepened) because more and more overlapping generations have lived with each other.

So the good news is that our elderly parents are living longer today than in years past. Modern medicine has alot to do with longevity. But the bad news is that longer life has created a different set of issues for the elderly. More and more people who live longer suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

Adapt to Their Needs

Changes in behavior, functionality, and physical capability may happen over a long period of time, or seemingly overnight. When visiting with older adults and community seniors, it is always best to adapt to their needs. For example, rather than trying to re-teach an elderly loved one about safety, take the necessary action. They may not listen (or remember) your pleas to forgo the cellar stairs. So think about putting a lock on the door. Or, instead of reminding them not to drive the car, take the keys away. 

– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: ; or online at: